Canada immigrationCanadian Permanent ResidencePermanent Residencetemporary foreign worker program

How to Move from Work Permit to Permanent Resident in Canada

Published on: August 21st, 2023

Obtaining a Temporary Work Permit in Canada is often seen as a crucial step toward achieving Permanent Residency in the country. This aspiration is not without merit, and for those who already hold an active Temporary Work Permit in Canada, there are multiple ways to move from temporary worker to permanent resident.

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Navigating the Express Entry System

Canada’s Express Entry system plays a pivotal role in this journey. It manages three federal programs, each offering a path to Permanent Residency. Understanding how Express Entry works is key.
Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Points.
The heart of Express Entry is the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which allocates points based on various factors. Notably, Canadian work experience can be a game-changer, contributing up to 70 points in the Core/Human Capital factor and up to 100 points in the Skills Transferability factor. Additionally, a valid job offer can secure an additional 200 points.
In essence, a work permit holder with substantial work experience and a job offer under Express Entry enjoys a significant points advantage, greatly improving their chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and ultimately becoming a permanent resident in Canada.

Eligibility Requirements

However, it’s essential to recognize that simply possessing a work permit doesn’t guarantee permanent residence under Express Entry. The first critical step is assessing eligibility to enter the Express Entry pool. Applicants must qualify under one of the following federal programs within Express Entry:

Alternatively, if the temporary worker wishes to settle in Quebec, they must meet the criteria for the Quebec Regular Skilled Worker Program (RSW) or the Quebec Experience Class Program (PEQ). Each program has its own set of requirements, necessitating a thorough evaluation of eligibility for each.

5 Routes from Work Permit to PR in Canada

The good news is that work permit holders can indeed apply for Canadian Permanent Residency. Here are five Canadian immigration programs tailored for temporary foreign workers:


1. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

Under the Canadian Experience Class, applicants can apply for Permanent Resident Status in about a year. Eligibility requirements include one year of skilled work in Canada and meet the required language levels . This is a popular choice for temporary workers who may not meet the points required by the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Requirements in Canadian Experience Class:

  • Paid, continuous, full-time skilled work experience during at least one year.
  • Work experience aligns with skill type in TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3 job categories in the National Occupation Classification (NOC). Your work experience can be in 1 or more of these categories.
  • The job corresponds to the applicant’s primary NOC.
  • Job duties match those described in the NOC.
  • There is no education requirement for the Canadian Experience Class.


2. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

Under FSWP, temporary workers with an arranged employment offer from a Canadian employer can apply for Permanent Residency. This offer is termed “arranged employment,” and applicants must meet specific point requirements based on factors such as education, age, adaptability, language skills, and the job offer. The process typically takes 12-18 months.

Requirements in Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP):

  •  You must have a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian Institution or a completed credential, and an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), if you had foreign education.
  • Take approved language tests in English or French for writing, reading, listening and speaking.
  • Continuous 1 year od a full-time skilled work experience.
  • Work experience aligns with skill type in TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3 job categories in the National Occupation Classification (NOC). Your work experience can be in 1 or more of these categories.
  • The job corresponds to the applicant’s primary NOC.
  • Job duties match those described in the NOC.


3. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

The Provincial Nominee Program allows applicants to generally apply for Permanent Residency within a year to a year and a half. Foreign workers are nominated for Permanent Residency by employers, with specific criteria varying across provinces.


4. Quebec Experience Class (QEC)

Similar to the Canadian Experience Class, the Quebec Experience Class (QEC) offers a path to permanent residency. However, the QEC has additional requirements, including at least two years of skilled work in Quebec and intermediate-level French proficiency.


5. Special Streams: Essential Worker and Healthcare Worker

Canada initiated special streams in response to the COVID-19 crisis. While these streams are now closed, they allowed essential and healthcare workers to become permanent residents in Canada, demonstrating the country’s commitment to welcoming skilled workers.

Transitioning to Permanent Residency: Other Considerations

It’s important to note that while work experience and a valid job offer can provide significant advantages when applying for permanent residence, other requirements must also be met. These may include language skills, sufficient funds, and educational qualifications.

For instance, while there are no educational requirements under the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program mandates an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) if the applicant lacks a secondary or post-secondary diploma or degree from a Canadian institution.

Changing Your Visa Status

For those on visitor visas, directly transitioning to permanent residency is typically not possible. However, changing from a visitor visa to permanent residency may occur in exceptional cases, such as qualifying as a refugee or having a partner/spouse with Canadian citizenship. Alternatively, transitioning from a visitor visa to a work visa is feasible if you secure employment in Canada, although it may necessitate leaving the country temporarily during the application process.

Transitioning from a W-1 Visa to Canadian Permanent Residency

Foreign workers in Canada often hold a W-1 visa, signifying their status as workers. This visa comes in two main types: Open Work Permit and Employer-Specific Work Permit. The transition from a W-1 visa to permanent residency is possible through the immigration pathways, mentioned before..

Achieving Permanent Residency as a Temporary Worker

In summary, while a valid job offer isn’t mandatory for entering the Express Entry pool, it significantly enhances your chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence. However, to successfully transition from a temporary worker to a permanent resident, you must meet specific requirements aligned with the skilled worker program you’re applying for.

If you want to come to Canada as a temporary worker or are already here on a temporary work permit and wish to become a permanent resident, reach out to us today to explore how our team can assist you in achieving your goals. 

Your journey to permanent residency in Canada awaits! Start today by filling out our free online assessment.

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